Relationship and Obedience – Say Hello!

Posted: March 1, 2011 in Relationship and Obedience

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.”

Jonah is one of the most ridiculed books by scholars. The story of a fish swallowing a man and the man living sounds impossible, and since most  scholars deny the possibility of the supernatural, they reject the book of Jonah as anything but a fairy tale.

Skeptics frequently speak against the idea of a “whale” in Matthew 12:40 in the King James Version. The idea that a person could actually be swallowed by such a creature and survive is unthinkable. Those thoughts which seem unthinkable can be thinkable for two reasons: (1) history  exists for the possibility of such an occurrence; and (2) the text of Jonah insists that the sea creature in question was orchestrated supernaturally by God for the purpose intended. God specifically “prepared” (mahnah—appointed, constituted, made ready) a great fish. The same term is used to refer to additional direct manipulations initiated by God. He also prepared a plant (4:6), a worm (4:7), and a violent tempest, wind (4:8). There is no point in speculating about the full physical explanation of an incident that primarily is metaphysical, meaning miraculous.  The entire story is miraculous, and as such can not be discussed in an earthly sphere. Jonah’s survival after being inside a sea creature is just as remarkable as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego surviving the “burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:27).

There is one additional item that adds to the validation of this story and that is the translation. The actual text of the book of Jonah states that “the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah” (Jonah 1:17). The Hebrew term (dahg) is the English translation “fish” (1:17; 2:1,10). It is a broad term that “always has the collective meaning ‘fish’. Others insist strongly that “the great fish, which is not more precisely defined, was not a whale” So what am i to conclude? Well, here it is, “it doesn’t matter.” Therefore, let the word used in the book of Jonah to refer to the sea creature that swallowed Jonah, refer to any type of fish—without regard for the technical classification. So, the English word “fish”, can refer to any number of cold-blooded aquatic vertebrates—from a trout, bass, or crappie to sharks, rays, jellyfish, and crayfish.

However, there needs to be a point of clarification here. According to the present zoological nomenclature, a “whale” is not a “fish”—it is classified as a mammal. Hebrew linguistic experts note no such distinction in the terms used in the Old Testament. The ordinary term for “fish” (dahg) would therefore not exclude the whale in its application.

i already see that Jonah is different than other prophets because the book of Jonah is not full of prophecies from the prophet, but is instead, about the life of the prophet. Little attention is given to what he actually says. But it does start off the same way the other prophetic books do because we see the phrase, “And the word of the Lord came to Jonah, son of Amittai, saying.” “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.”

Proclaim against it, is all i would have needed to hear in order to do the same thing Jonah did. Who wants to tell anyone let alone an entire city that their wickedness has caught God’s attention. i remember three years ago a prophet came to me and told me that i would have to do just that to individuals and more specifically pastors. i wanted no part of it then and still do not, but have had to do it a few times during the past three years. It’s one of those “Thanks for thinking of me God, but no thanks.”

While most of the other prophets prophesied to Israel and Judah, Jonah’s task was to go to Ninevah and prophesy to them.

“An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.”

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